Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Battle of Fire-Breathing Dragons

There’s a whole lot of name-calling going on, or “flaming“ taking place. What happened to respectful conversation between two people or groups? Did it ever exist? From what we see today, politicians throwing mud and insults at each other, angry people taking to the streets destroying property over who knows what anymore, baseball, soccer and football fans being assaulted or killed for supporting the “wrong“ team, it’s hard to imagine anything different. It’s hard to imagine a friendly debate or discussion of current events anymore. Our elected leaders insult and degrade other leaders as well as mock those who put them in office for disagreeing with their policies or simply being a member of the other party. This is what we see. This is what our young people see as examples of leadership.

Money talks, more than it should. We all know the saying “The love of money is the root of all types of evil.“ The more you have, the more you can control those politicians, media, industries etc. that you want to control. Money can give a lot of power to a few who get to use wisely or squander a nation’s supply of tax money. Those powers can pit different socio-economic groups against each other by making one out to be the bad guy and planting seeds of resentment in the other. A company or organization who refuses to donate to certain special interest groups will pay dearly once the name-calling and boycotts start up and sponsorships are yanked away. Now, the individual has the right to go to a certain store or restaurant that they like. If that store supports an organization the individual disagrees with, that individual has the right to stop going there. But hey, someone else might like what that store supports and keeps going there. Or perhaps they really just like the food there. We live in America. We have choices and the freedom to exercise those choices. Those stores, restaurants and businesses can do what they wish with the money that they make. That’s the great part of living here. You can support them or boycott them. It’s your choice. The trouble though starts when certain groups or individuals think that everyone should have the same opinion as them, and they start hurling insults or snubbing those who have a different opinion. Group A doesn’t support or donate to Cause D so they are labeled bigots, haters, xenophobes, ostrophobes, nanophobes, right-wingers, left-wingers, idiots, etc. Many people don’t like being called names, so often times it shuts them up right quick. It certainly doesn’t help that some groups think that public embarrassment, harassment, nasty phone calls, grafitti, and video postings of getting right up in your face to challenge you are great ways to let the disagreeing party know their opinion is WRONG. These practices, unfortunately are not really classified under today’s catch phrase of “bullying”. Yes, bullying is wrong, but bullying in order to change someone else’s belief system or values is also wrong. I respect your opinion. I like hearing your opinion. I may not agree with your opinion, but I respect your right to have it. Shouldn’t that work both ways? Can we discuss things in a civilized manner?

How does a parent teach a child that it’s okay to have his own opinion, that he should stand up for his beliefs, even though those beliefs could get him ostracized, beat up or even killed. Does a parent teach a child to follow the crowd and just agree with whichever opinion is the most popular or politically correct so he isn’t called a hater, narrow-minded, ignorant, etc. or made an “example of” at school by administrators because someone cried foul? Or should he be told that he should just keep his mouth shut when it comes to certain controversial issues. Will he risk losing friends and being excluded by some groups of people by having a different opinion or belief, one that is faith-based? Will I? Probably. Why are some opinions and beliefs today okay to have while others are not? I really don’t know the answer to that, but I do know who I have to answer to in the end in regard to myself and my children.

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